Registered Users Is Only One Metric

Flickr founder, Caterina Fake, recently returned from her Bora Bora vacation. She came back ready to write.
Upon considering the number of MySpace registrations, she had this to say:

MySpace and Facebook are examples of services that enable communication and socializing. You can surf them, but surfing them isn’t really the point. You don’t really do the Facebook or MySpace thing unless you have friends, are a member, engage in banter and have connections. Thus they have high #s of registered users, but the metric that really measures the health of the service are how many of those people are connected to other people, the network graph. While we don’t know those numbers, the connections have to be huge, based on the rapidity of the viral growth of both.
Sites such as Flickr, YouTube and Wikipedia (and to some extent blogs) have a core set of users that create a great deal of value for a large number of people who don’t need to add anything to the system to get something out of it. It’s important for those members to be connected to each other and create a healthy community — the sociality is definitely part of the ecosystem — but you can come and surf Flickr or YouTube every day and never take a photo or record a video. On these sites, registered users aren’t the bulk of the users. The bulk of the users are the non-logged-in viewers, surfers, searchers.

Caterina’s wisdom reminds me to send out a special thanks to all of our active participants here. And to our readers.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.